The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals travel to Chapel Hill for a top-10 ACC matchup with the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels tonight at 9pm on ESPN. The line currently stands at UNC-8, after it opened with UNC giving Louisville 5.5 points.
While the fact that both teams are in the top-10 makes for a good headline, there’s so much more to tonight’s game. The winner of tonight’s game will likely win the ACC regular season crown and a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament. Needless to say, there’s a lot on the line for both teams tonight, but the loser is in no way in bad shape either. A win in Chapel Hill will be difficult, but not impossible.
The Cards must slow down Junior forward Justin Jackson, he enters this game averaging 18.6 PPG. 6’7 Deng Adel will likely be tasked with guarding 6’8 Jackson, that’s a matchup to watch.
UNC is coming off a blowout 24-point win over Virginia. While that sentence may scare you, the Cards style of play matches up very well with the Tar Heels. Both teams play up-tempo, crash the boards, and shoot at a high rate. UNC has the edge in rebounding, but Louisville has a significant edge in defense. In my opinion, it’ll be much easier for Louisville to keep up with the Tar Heels on the glass than it will for UNC to match Louisville’s defensive intensity that centers around forcing bad shots early rather than killing clock (Virginia’s pack-line focus). UNC isn’t a great 3-point shooting team, if the Cards can force the Tar Heels into contested outside shots and keep their bigs off the offensive glass, Louisville has a good chance to win tonight.
This Louisville team has felt special all season, something about this assemblage of grit, hustle, heart, camaraderie and talent makes this team a favorite of all CardNation. Louisville walks out of Chapel Hill tonight with their first top-10 road win since joining the ACC. Quentin Snider leads the way with 23 points and Donovan Mitchell adds another 20-point performance as well.
Louisville 78-North Carolina 74.